Worship Preview 1.21.24 "Call and Response"
First United Methodist Church
This Weekend: 10:30am – “Call and Response”
Scriptures - Jonah 3:1-5, 10, Psalm 62:5-12, 1 Corinthians 7:29-31, Mark 1:14-20
For the next several weeks at least, we will closely follow the lectionary in worship. The Revised Common Lectionary is a 3-year cycle of readings used by many denominations in the US and Canada, including United Methodists, Lutherans, Episcopalians, and Roman Catholics (with slight variations). Part of the idea is that different churches will all hear sermons on the same texts. The readings are organized around the church calendar and follow the seasonal themes. There are 4 readings, usually an Old Testament text, a Psalm, an Epistle from the New Testament and a Gospel. Between Easter and Pentecost, the Old Testament lesson is usually replaced by a reading from Acts of the Apostles.
The lectionary does not cover all of Scripture and in practice, many churches only use 2 or maybe 3 of the readings on a given Sunday, which further reduces how much is covered. That’s one reason Pastor Christopher is generally a “series preacher” where we use lectionary resources, but he chooses readings independently, often expanding readings and picking up on “overlooked” texts. Both models have strengths and weaknesses, and it is sometimes a good discipline for a pastor to change things up. In the midst of his 3rd year of ministry here, Pastor decided it was time to give up some of the control picking his own texts offers and be guided by the collective wisdom of the lectionary.
Regardless of how worship is organized, the point is to reflect on the life of Christ and to know, grow, serve and share – seeking to exemplify Christ in all we do. Each of the 3 years of the lectionary loosely follows Matthew, Mark, or Luke, with readings from John interspersed in all 3. Each of the other readings usually add to or support the theme and imagery of the Gospel reading. We are currently in Year B which uses readings from Mark. This week we will hear Mark’s account of the calling of Simon Peter, Andrew, James and John. Each are called to “Follow me” and they do. Immediately! One thing you might notice over the next few weeks is how sparsely Mark tells the story. Often, things that Matthew or Luke or John take paragraphs for are covered in a single sentence! The goal of this Gospel is to evoke reader response – we too are called! We will augment Mark’s telling with the responses of Jonah and the Psalmist, along with a brief snippet of Paul’s expectations from 1st Corinthians - and we will consider our times, our expectations, and our response. As we move into the routines of 2024, you are invited to come walk along the shores of Galilee and encounter Jesus with the first disciples, encountering Christ anew, hearing his call and responding!
Wednesday, January 24th, 5:30–6:30pm: Feeding Families in His Name – this weekly free meal is available to everyone without obligation. A “to-go” meal is distributed under the portico at 301 S. National. A reminder: Please do not block nearby driveways while waiting. Thank you. If you would like to support this ministry, you can make donations online at www.firstumcfortscott.org/onlinegiving
Thursday, February 8th – United Women in Faith will have their first meeting of 2024 on at 1:30pm in the Parlor. Jean Tucker will present a program and all women of the church and community are invited!
Wednesday, February 14th – Ash Wednesday falls on Valentine’s Day this year. All are welcome as we begin Lent with our 7pm service featuring imposition of ashes and some history on St. Valentine.
Mark Your Calendars! Faith’s Journey Returns! Saturday, March 23rd at 6pm. Join us the Saturday before Holy Week for another great evening of Absolute Country, Definitely Gospel with Faith’s Journey! Branson’s 2021 Gospel Show and Group of the Year will be here for another freewill offering show! If you were here last year, you’ll want to hear them again, and if you missed it here is your chance to see them! Invite your friends and neighbors!